Smog from Cambodia brings haze to parts of Malaysia


A screengrab from the Asean Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre website.

GEORGE TOWN: Smog from tens of hotspots burning in Cambodia – about 1,000km away – is blowing toward Malaysia, bringing haze to northern states.

The Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), based in Singapore, reported that satellite cameras have detected massive fire-prone areas emitting smoke plumes in northern and eastern Cambodia as well as parts of southern Laos.

The northeast monsoon has been blowing the smoke towards Malaysia and ASMC forecasts a slight to moderate haze.

The Air Pollutant Index (API) of Malaysia website operated by the Environment Department shows that for most parts of Kelantan, Terengganu, southern Kedah and Penang have moderate API readings in the 60s to 70s.

In South Seberang Prai, Penang, the API is 92, but this is due to Penang’s landfill fire in Pulau Burung.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department also sent out a haze alert on Thursday (Jan 28), characterising the hotspots in Cambodia as forest fires.

On Jan 11, Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia reported that the nation’s forest fires are “frequently caused by human activities, such as burning brush that has been cleared on plantations, burning tree stumps in fields to make it easier to grow crops, creating grasslands for livestock or in poaching attempts as well as to harvest honey from wild bees”.

In Shah Alam and Klang in Selangor, the API reading is in the 70s to 80s.

An API reading of 0-50 is considered Good, Moderate (51-100), Unhealthy (101-200), Very Unhealthy (201-300) and Hazardous (above 300).

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